Beware of scams



If you are sending money to a stranger or unknown person requires you to pay this way for goods or services before their delivery (especially offers on the Internet), for transport or insurance, payments as deposit to secure a lease for housing which you have not seen, allow payment of winnings in a lottery or betting, you run the risk of losing money. If still such a transfer is sent, you do so entirely at your own risk. Western Union is not responsible for the correct and proper delivery of goods or services paid through transfers under the brand Western Union.

DON'T GIVE AWAY DETAILS OF MONEY TRANSFER TO ANY OTHER PERSON THAN INTENDED RECIPIENT. If you do, you give that person the opportunity to achieve payment of money transfer.

Unknown person asked you to send them money?
You are running into the risk of fraud.

Western Union money transfer is the best way to send money to people you know and trust. If you send money to someone you do not know, you run the risk of fraud.

In Western Union We appreciate customers who use our service. Please be careful when you decide to send money to someone you don't know for:

  • purchase of goods (cars, motorcycles, mobile phones, ..) or services from an online store, auction or telemarketing
  • fees associated with winning the lottery
  • preliminary fees for low interest loans or credit cards

What is good to think about

  • How well do you know the person you are sending money to?
  • Have you verified the reputation and legitimacy of the party you are going to do bossiness with?
  • Has the intended recipient advised you how to use the Western Union Services (e.g. the use of Test question, sending on fictional name, sending money to your relative or another close person, hiding MTCN until goods are delivered etc.)?

What's good to know

  • Western Union do not provide service of money deposit. We are only liable for the proper disbursement of cash to the intended recipient.
  • Do not use fictional recipient's name when you want to buy goods from strangers. This method does not protect your finances
  • Principle of Western Union is to pay out cash to a recipient identified by a valid form of ID with photo, he also needs to know correct sender's name, country of departure and the amount expected - as stated in the To send form.
  • The receiver doesn't always need to know the MTCN. In some states it isn't obligatory for withdrawal.
  • Test questions are used only in situations where the recipient doesn't have a valid identity document and transfer amount is less than 1,000 USD or equivalent in local currency.
  • Western Union is not liable for the quality or delivery of goods or services paid for through Western Union Money transfer takes. Once the money is picked up by the intended recipient, the sender can no longer get their cash back.

The most common types of Frauds - how to spot them?

Fraudsters Gain Your Trust, and then Steal Your Money.
They use any means to contact victims—telephone, snail mail, email, and the Internet. They gain your trust and when they have you hooked, they ask you for money; then they take it and run. The scenarios they use to lure you in change, constantly. But you can protect yourself and your friends and family by arming yourself with knowledge of the most common types of fraud.

Internet purchase scam

  • In the internet purchase scam, criminals prey on victims who bid on items using an online auction website or service. It generally plays out in one of two ways:
  • Victims win the bid, which is likely a sham or set up, and are told the seller only accepts money transfers for payment. The seller tells the buyer to put the transaction in a fictitious name, or the name of a loved one. Scammers convince victims this protects their money until the goods or services are received. The seller then creates a false ID in the fictitious name and retrieves the funds. The merchandise never arrives. Common trick is to provide the victim with fraudulent link to Western Union websites, the link is supposed to verify that the transfer was done correctly, but it sends the information directly to the fraudster.
  • The other variation is when the original auction is legitimate but the victims don’t win the bid. They’re contacted later on by another party offering to sell them the same item under similar terms and instructed to wire the money as payment. The money is sent but the buyer never receives the goods.

Advance fee / prepayment scam

  • Scammers pose as representatives from phony loan companies and use authentic-looking documents, emails, and websites to appear legitimate. They charge “fees” in advance of making loans. Consumers pay, but the loans never come through. Scammers are long gone and they regularly change the name of their “businesses” to avoid persecution.
  • This is only one variation of this scam called the “advance fee” or “prepayment” scam. Scammers can also lure victims in with promises of loans, investments, lottery winnings or inheritance in exchange for a fee. Cases where scammers lure the advance fee for renting real estate are unfortunately also common. But it all comes down to the same theme: Victims pay money to someone in anticipation of receiving something of greater value and then receive little or nothing in return.

Overpayment scam

  • With overpayment scams, fraudsters play the role of buyer and target consumers selling a service or product. The “buyer” sends the seller a legitimate-looking check, usually drawn on a well-known bank, for an amount higher than the agreed-upon price. They concoct an explanation for this overpayment and instruct the seller to deposit the check and wire back the excess funds via Western Union. Weeks later, the victim learns the check is fake, but is still on the hook to pay the bank back for any money withdrawn.

Emergency / grandparent scam

  • Emergency scams play off of peoples’ emotions and strong desire to help others in need. Scammers impersonate their victims and make up an urgent situation—I’ve been arrested, I’ve been mugged, I’m in the hospital—and target friends and family with urgent pleas for help, and money.
  • Emergency scams also come in all shapes and sizes. There’s the Grandparent Scam where con artists contact the elderly claiming to be their grandchild, urgently asking for money. And the Social Networking Scam where con artists hack into social networking accounts and then target friends with frantic requests for money, claiming injury, arrest, etc.; they do the same by hacking email accounts. They use the information in these accounts to supply enough personal detail to make their requests appear legitimate. Always try to contact your acquaintance asking for money in a way that ensures beyond reasonable doubt that you are really speaking with said person.

Relationship scam

  • The relationship scam starts simply: A man and woman meet on the Internet. The relationship progresses: They email, talk on the phone, and trade pictures. And, finally, they make plans to meet, and even to get married. As the relationship gets stronger, things start to change. The man asks the woman to wire him money; he needs bus fare to visit a sick uncle. The first wire transfer is small but the requests keep coming and growing—his daughter needs emergency surgery, he needs airfare to come for a visit, etc. The payback promises are empty; the money’s gone, and so is he.

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